In early Feb. another couple, my wife and I boarded Manta, our 8M Telstar
departed Ft. Myers on a cruise to Big Pine Key. We planned to take a
leisurely 5 to 7 days with various stops including Everglades City, Flamingo
and Key West. At the end of the first day we were just south of Naples in 2
to 3 foot seas, motoring at 6 knots into a 5 knot SE breeze when CRUNCH,
WHIIIINNE, BLUB!!!, the motor mount (sled) tore in half. The motor, still
clamped to the transom end of the sled immediately sank, ingesting seawater
on the way. Fortunately I had tied a safety line to the Honda 8 so we were
able to retrieve it using the boom and mainsheet as a hoist. After securing
the motor on deck, we decided to return to Ft. Myers to get the motor
dewatered as quickly as possible. (It was the other couple's motor - mine
hadn't been running well.) We drifted for a few hours, but picked up a 10-12
knot land breeze about 9 PM and broad reached back to a launch ramp and
anchored off it at about 2 AM. While setting a 2nd anchor (there was a
strong tidal current running against the wind) I fell against the starboard
forward stanchion on the main hull ripping it out. After a few hours sleep
we retrieved the boat to the trailer with difficulty because of a full moon -
low tide. It is still on the trailer awaiting repairs.
The failure of the motor mount appears to have resulted from rotting
transom. Although the wood was entirely enclosed in glass and resin, water
must have penetrated, perhaps through four screws that a previous owner had
used to attach a rubber motor pad to the sled transom. The stanchion
attachment failure looks like it was caused by poor design/construction (no
backing plate-incomplete glass saturation).
Please pass along my recommendation to others to examine these areas
boats for signs of possible failure.
Later in Feb., while windsurfing at a campground on Big Pine Key, my
struck up a conversation with a fellow windsurfer who turned out to be John
Branning, owner of Telstar #259 from Navarre, FL! He and his wife were
vacationing for a few days in the keys. We traded Telstar and windsurfing
stories during the remaining day while they were at the campground (which we
stay at off-and-on Dec. 15 - Mar. 15).
We both enjoyed reading about your (mis)adventures in the newsletters
the years. Thanks again for referring me to your Alaskan odessy on the web
site. I have a list of questions I'd like to ask about that, but must leave
that 'til later.